We went out for Allen’s birthday party last year to Spurs restaurant. I was pregnant with Kendi at the time and I struck up a conversation with another friend at the table. I had just met him and we were talking about clothing that children wear. I said that I didn’t want my daughter to wear dresses or skirts while playing. It would inhibit her from climbing trees, jumping into the mud, rolling on the grass with the other children. With the boys.
Nobody laughs when they see a boy peeing on the side of the road. Nobody laughs when they see a boy’s underwear. Boys wear trousers and shorts and they have no fear of ridicule or ‘decency’ when they play. They just play. They discover things, they get hurt, they learn. Girls stop learning at a certain point in their lives. When they start wearing dresses and skirts. Adults tell them to sit properly, to sit like a girl. Children laugh at them on the monkey bars when they go upside down and everyone can see their pantie. They immediately lose confidence.
I don’t want that for Kendi.
So I was sitting there eating my ribs arguing with my new friend. He thought that it was prudent to raise girls as girls and boys as boys. It got me thinking, ‘how do I raise Kendi as a girl at 6 months old, 2 years old, even 5 years old?’ Until a certain point in life, nobody care whether a baby is a boy or a girl (unless maybe if a baby is a boy in a little pink dress, then people get touchy for some reason).
I want to draw that out for Kendi for as long as possible, when it comes to dressing. I do put her in dresses to go to church or a wedding or a party sometimes. As soon as she starts walking and understanding ‘sit properly like a girl’ I will throw on shorts or tights underneath. So she can play as hard, get as hurt, learn as much as the little boys.